The Natural Classroom is next to Trinity's outdoor chapel and features an outdoor garden, compost center, rainwater collection system, shaded outdoor classroom and related science equipment. Students have used the garden to grow produce — including spinach and other greens, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and corn — which are then eaten by faculty and students in our dining hall. Using the compost center, students have recycled thousands of pounds of food waste to fertilize native meadows and garden beds.
Practicing Sustainability in the Garden
Our garden gives students a chance to connect with nature and practice sustainability. Though middle schoolers keep the garden running, lower schoolers also chip in. For example, first graders grow leafy greens and then enjoy a salad party at the end of the year, eating out of bowls they crafted in art class! The garden reinforces and brings to life the concepts like pollination, genetic variation and photosynthesis from our life science course.
On-Campus Nature Preserve
In 2012, we began a restoration project to sustain native species and strengthen biodiversity. Led by Lower School science and social studies teacher Bill Earley, students helped clear invasive brush, plant seeds, and create ponds to strengthen biodiversity. Wildlife sightings have increased in recent years and include armadillos, deer, rabbits, cats, ringtails, foxes, bobcats, coyotes and more. You can read a report on the state of our wildlife preserve:
Beyond the Classroom with Bill Earley, Part I
Meet Mr. Earley, who teaches Lower School science and social studies at Trinity. He leads our efforts in wildlife conservation efforts and habitat preservation.
Beyond the Classroom with Bill Earley, Part II
Mr. Earley tours Trinity's community garden and compost center, which brings to life the lessons learned in the seventh-grade life science course — concepts like pollination, genetic variation and photosynthesis.
Beyond the Classroom with Bill Earley, Part III
Mr. Earley discusses land preservation efforts along Trinity's nature trails. Projects like maintaining trails, dredging a water drainage channel, and building bridges increase students' awareness and appreciation of their natural environment and instill a higher level of work ethic and stewardship.
Beyond the Classroom with Bill Earley, Part IV
Mr. Earley discusses wildlife habitat restoration efforts on Trinity's campus. Students have cleared invasive brush, planted seeds, and created ponds to strengthen biodiversity. Wildlife sightings have increased in recent years and include armadillos, deer, rabbits, cats, ringtails, foxes, bobcats, coyotes and more.
“We look to restore native spaces to create a healthy and diverse wildlife community. We're addressing our community space and working to create an environment where wildlife can coexist with us. In social studies, students develop ways of thinking drawn from many academic disciplines. They learn how to analyze their own and others’ opinions and ideas on important issues and hopefully become motivated to participate in their communities as active and informed citizens.”
— Bill Earley, 4th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Conservation in the Curriculum
Our social studies curriculum includes a trail restoration project designed to increase students' awareness and appreciation of their natural environment and to instill a higher level of work ethic and stewardship. Students discuss urban sprawl and development, habitat fragmentation and loss of natural resources. They also analyze population data to determine if the project has had a positive effect, both for individual species and the wildlife community as a whole. Then students use their knowledge to educate others by building presentations and leading parents on tours.
We love our beautiful campus, but there’s a big, wide world to explore! We’re always looking for learning opportunities outside the classroom, big and small. Sure, our 21-acre campus has lots of great places to explore, and periodically, students enjoy day trips to places in and around Austin. Beginning in 4th grade, we give students more chances to really spread their wings with our annual class trips. These multiple-day, grade-wide excursions challenge students to discover new environments, new people and themselves. Each adventure is another way to nurture our kids academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Camp Allen, Texas
Camp Allen is an 860-acre retreat in the piney woods of East Texas. The two-day outing is an introduction to class trips, and it gives fourth graders a chance to discover an ecosystem different from Austin. Students learn about forest and pond ecology and enjoy team-building activities — and s’mores, of course!
Mo-Ranch is a Christian conference center, summer camp and spiritual retreat nestled in the Texas Hill Country. During the three-day trip, fifth graders enjoy outdoor activities that promote teamwork, leadership and confidence.
Camp Cho-Yeh, Texas
Established in 1947, Camp Cho-Yeh is a Christian camp and retreat in Livingston, Texas, about an hour north of Houston. The name comes from the local Alabama-Coushatta Indian language and means “land of tall pines.” Sixth graders sight-see and participate in community service in Houston for a day and night, and then head to camp Cho-Yeh for the rest of their four-day class trip.
Our nation’s capital is a great place to learn about American history, but it’s also an opportunity to witness the gears of government in motion. Each stop on the itinerary enables students to learn and appreciate the people, places and events that shaped our country and continue to affect our everyday lives.
Over five days, students immerse themselves in “pura vida.” Literally translated as “pure life,” this simple expression epitomizes the culture of optimism for which Costa Rica is famous. We explore the country’s highly lauded flora and fauna, unique geological landscape, and the warmth and kindness of the Tico people.